All posts for the month February | 1942 |

Wed 25 Feb. 9.50 P.M [1942]

Cold and raw to-day, kept trying to snow and felt as if it might turn off to cold rain. The wind is getting up now, blows at bay window so think it is N.E. Ground just covered with snow this morning but quickly melted except the few patches of old snow. Jean’s snowman really gone but still a patch where the drift was on the lawn. Had a letter from Ron to-day written Mon. night, he says they had 2 inches snow and on the sloping road in the village the children were sledging. He had been talking to Emmie on the phone, very clear for once. He will be going there for week-end on Sat. all being well. He is back again in A. flight again, at his own job. I expect as instrument repairer. It will be cold after being in the oxygen room, but the powers-that-be don’t study that. Said in last letter (before this) that he was making me an allotment of 10/0 a week to save for him, so that if ever it was necessary I might perhaps get something from R.A.F. Sincerely hope it will never come to that. He thinks he will make sure of saving £1 a fortnight by that. They are paid fortnightly. Roy does the same and Keith did, don’t know what happens when they get married, expect it automatically peters out.

Yesterday Doris, Kath. and Shirley and Barbara came for the day. S and B are 5 and 3 and are very good to bring out. S is dark and pretty, soft dark hair and bright dark eyes. Jean was very happy with them, she was having Mon and Tue half-term. Jean was minus her glasses on Fri night, it would happen ½ term, she was much relieved to find them in desk at school, as she thought she had them in her satchel when she started home. Various changes in Government but nothing startling. 7 now to bear the responsibility, instead of Mr C. alone. That at least is a change for the better. If two heads are better than one, let’s hope 8 are better in proportion.

No wireless yet and don’t know when there will be. Evison says when he writes re parts they do not even answer his letters. Car adjusting and batt. charging cost 9/3. Jean’s rubber hot water bott which she pierced with kn. needle vulcanised for 9D. It was little worn or it could not have been done. Father cleaned Ron’s cycle yesterday and mended Jean’s punctures and cleaned hers too. They both look OK. It is very nice not having them in the house all this snowy weather. I have put the bulbs Mr A gave me in soil in hut, to develop roots, they have already sprouted leaves, and the weather is not fit to plant them in the garden yet. Wind keeps coming in gusts at the window.

Evisons Garage 1940s

Evisons' Garage, Hogsthorpe, 1940s

On Sat. morning between 10 and 11 o’clock a new Dornier (Ger) bombed Roy. Art. One bomb was 3,000 lb. and brought down about 300 chalets. Fortunately only 4 persons were killed and about 15 injured. It is remarkable as there are thousands of trainees there. Another bomb which did not explode was dropped at Sk[egness] on Vine Rd off Drummond Rd. Father saw the plane and heard bombs. Paul saw the big one drop, said it looked like a man dropping down. There was a snow shower at the time. Plane circled round here before dropping bomb. Jean and I thought it sounded like a Ger. but it was frosty and snowing so thought it might be that. Jean ran out to look but could not see it thro’ the snow. Father was cycling to Hogsthorpe for car, then he took F Johnson to Burgh to fetch a calf. 7/0 but he gave him 6D extra, most unusual for FJ. to give him more than he is charged. Mr Scott has passed away. Expect Miss S. will stay on in Bungalow as it was his own and she has made a lot of friends now. Rene and I have each started a sock for Ron out of some wool I have pulled down a pullover for. It is about right colour and better than the new stuff we get now. Hope it does not shrink. His leave may be end of March now but he does not know for certain yet. Roy was home for week-end. Joan there in spite of having mumps. Rather selfish of her I think.

One Skegness house, unoccupied at the time, received a direct hit. The unexploded bomb at a second house was located months later. (See ‘Skegness at War’, Marjorie C Wilkinson, Cupit Press, Horncastle 2007, p 12.)

Fred Johnson, farmer, was the father of Norman, Doreen and Betty (see 8 Feb. 1942).

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Fri Feb. 20 10.00 P.M [1942]

Bed-time but will write a few lines. Why do very sensible, steady people, come to a time when they do something very foolish? Is it to keep the balance even? I notice too that self sacrificing persons, who give up their pleasures and devote their lives to someone dear to them, and they have had the happiness of that person put down to their account, when it is presented, and they look back on those empty years and see the few left to them, they want someone else to help them pay the bill. They shrink from paying the account in full and try to restore the “years the locust hath eaten” with some other person’s sacrifice.

Ron was home on Tuesday, had a very short letter, to-day. His next leave (7 days) will probably be 13th to 20th April instead of the week before. Rene got Kathie a grate brush from Hall’s, as she said she could not get one anywhere. It was Hall’s last and he said “Make it last, there will be no more until war is over.”

G[rammar] School children went thro’ gas chamber to-day. Jean’s mask alright, they had to lift flap and smell gas, their eyes smarted a little afterwards and heads ached. Big boys took masks off and came out weeping, to the immense delight of the girls. R.A.G.S. a master was bidding them farewell as he is going in one of the Services, so Jean thought he got a flattering send-off. They made pancakes in Dom. Sci. to-day, but not Jean as it is so awkward carrying batter on the bus’. She arrived home minus her glasses, doesn’t know whether she had dropped them on bus as she had to show her season T[icket] or whether she left them at school. Think we must ring up Bus’ Office tomorrow.

Father went seafaring again this morning only got a little wood. He has gone on watch an hour early to-night to relieve Paul. It is the return match of the dart players to-night, at V.H. [Vine Hotel] so Joe [Kirk] will be rather sleepy if he even lands at W.Bx to-night. Don’t know who is doing a turn or few hours for him.

Eff came this afternoon, says tinned fruit not released until Mon. 23. Stow’s have none as yet. 12 pts a tin. R.A. cook gave Father a (2lb I think) tin of Lyon’s Cocoa to-day and cab. leaves for rabbits. We had bacon slices, fried with onion and pots in oven and gravy thickened, for dinner, also spot. D. [‘spotted Dick’] pudding. Had a letter from Mrs Den[man], says Mr D. says Father is to be paid £3 for Redcott. Had cleaned bed-rooms when Rene got here to-day. Had room carpet up yesterday. Rene made me a bit of pastry. She is very full of cold yet. Tried J. Kirk’s way of lighting fire, quite successful. Get a small tin lid, fill with burnt ash, just dust. Then put just sufficient par[affin] to wet ash, place in grate, light, pile a very few sticks over, then coal and hey presto! there is your fire. It is a similar idea to the fire-brick poker I got from Wool[worth]’s and doesn’t use as much oil.

RAG Smith,‘RAGS’, was Latin master at Skegness Grammar School.

Fire-brick’ here probably meant a reusable fireproof absorbent briquette which could be soaked in paraffin before putting in the unlit fireplace. It is not clear why it would be described as a ‘poker’.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Feb 19. Thursday 9.30. P.M. [1942]

I almost dread looking at the paper these gloomy days. Now that Singapore has fallen we wonder where next the blow will fall. Am afraid Malta will eventually be taken. She has stood up to Air Raids a long time, but the bald statement (as if we knew all about it) of Churchill’s that the Med. is closed to us now makes us wonder whether we have any Navy or Air Force about that can aid them. There must be some tho’ as the sinking of Axis supply vessels for Rommel is still going on. There is an article from Neg. [?] Faison in D.M. to-day in which he says we can believe all the Russ. say about the atroc. practised by the Gers. He has been to the villages and seen and heard at first hand the terrible things they have done. It is no war this time, not as I visualise war, a fair fight between the armed forces of both sides. This time it is just wanton destruction of civilians and property and defenceless non-combatants, as much as fighting. Even the war between armed men is terrible with death rained down from the skies. …..less [Helpless?] cannot stand against bombs. When will it end? Not till W. Ch has renounced his fat cigars or the supply is ended? I wonder. Not yet have we got down to sacrifice, but I feel that surely it will come to us all, as it has come to part of the country already one way or another.

Took flock bed to Kathie yesterday at Croft Marsh. Father went Burgh way to Croft village as Clough Farm Croft is the address. It was miles beyond that over Haven House Station. Everyone we asked kept saying, oh some miles further on. It was finally run to earth right down the farm grounds. Fortunately the roads are built up high above the marsh so were dry, but rough owing to use by military. They were at the end of the road and we had to go back some distance on our tracks to get on to the road for Sk[egness] then came on to Drumm[ond] Rd. We ought to have gone that way, much nearer. Doris’s house very nice, Kathie going to live at next house but we had not time to go. She has got some nice furniture at Ds ready for going. Shirley at school, Barbara very bonnie and good. Kathie a very pretty girl. Doris says she doesn’t take care of herself running in and out this bitter weather, she is young and doesn’t understand. Doris is of the mature age of 25 with a huge family of two. D. says she would not live in an out-of-the-way place like her mother has this year. It must be bad if it’s as far out as Clough (some call it Clow, some Cluff) Farm, but I think they get snowed up as it’s on the Wolds, and of course it is very flat where D. is. Heard from Em[ily] this morning, they are going to live in Louth Park, J[esse] going to drive tractor, so it sounds more civilised. Em had burned her thumb badly thro’ a box of matches going off. Very painful and what a waste of matches in these scarce times! Rene had been away to school to do the work. She is nearly 14 and will soon be leaving.

So Roy and Joan are going to be married at Easter if all is well. Rene had calf/ank badly to-day. Ron was home Tuesday, it will be 3 weeks before he comes again. Father went seafaring this morning but only got a bit of wood. Not cigs (Craven A), which he really went to look for. Hallgarth got 2 tins this morning, Father stayed about ½ hour on box while he went, he got a batch and 2 tins of 60 cigs, gave Father 21 out of one tin. He also took 2/6 full pay for 2 hours he did for Father last Sat. week tho’ Father has relieved him 3 times for a little while, since then, at least 2 hours altogether, mean hound. No wonder Father says anything he can get he will keep and not share!

The surrender of Allied forces in Singapore, under Lieutenant General Percival, to the Japanese, took place on February 15th 1942.

Faison (or similar name) was presumably a Daily Mail war correspondent – but this has not been verified.

Haven House Station was a railway halt between Skegness and Wainfleet (see East Lincolnshire Map).

Doris, née Lewis, Ashwell was May’s sister Emily’s eldest daughter and sister of Kathie. Shirley and Barbara were Doris’s daughters.

The Lincolnshire Wolds – an area of gentle scenic rolling hills, in what is sometimes mistakenly thought of as an entirely flat county.

Rene Lewis was Emily’s youngest daughter. The elder of the six daughters have been mentioned earlier (Doris, Gladys, Kathie, May) with the exception of Joyce who was second to youngest.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Sun Feb 15 9 PM [1942]

Have written to Kathie, Mrs Den[man], Mrs Fletcher and Ron. Also written a prose-poem. Jean is reading first book of my diary and chuckling over it too, says it is a good thing I use ink now as even indel. Pencil is sometimes incomprehensible! She loves big words. Father has gone on watch after Sun. night supper of beef, pot. and brussels. We are not always able to have it, indeed I have done without so long that I have ceased to care about it. I seldom eat meat more than once a day. It has been much milder to-day, no frost last night, snow going very nicely tho’ patches still about. Jean’s snow-man is dwindled to a very small lump of icy snow.

Think my border of anemones is almost complete, not more than one missing. They are fresh and green almost like parsley. Hope they flower well this year. I like them so much. “If thou hast two coats, sell one, and buy anemones.” I wonder who said that? I sowed some seed Rene brought me, last year so tiny amongst it cotton-woolly fluff. A good row came up. Do hope they have survived the winter. She came this afternoon (cold much better) with Parker Twins, Wendy and Barrie 2 yrs old with lovely hazel eyes and Pat big sister of 9. Also Pen. Hall very bonny. Mrs P? ill in bed with asthma poor woman, what a job with those little ones requiring so much attention and the father away. Pat is very good with them but so young. Rene brought them out so she could rest and Pen was there with her mother and wanted to come with them so badly. She has no one to play with and is very lovable tho’ so spoiled. Rene jokingly said they ought to collect two more little neighbours and also Pam Moore, but Pat solemnly said “Oh, I don’t think she is allowed to play with many children.” They went to see the rabbits, but we have only “Sara”, “Percy” and one of Mrs Grey’s daughters now. Pen liked the “silky one”, which was Percy. Even the shy twins talked about the rabbits. They looked so cosy in their double push-cart sitting side by side in their brown pixie suits as like as a big pea and a little one. Barrie being much the biggest.

Flora fell on the ice yesterday and hurt her head so did not go to S.S. Jean says R[oy] and Jo[an] hope to be married at Easter. Jo is earning about £4 a week and will get allowance from Roy so will be able to save. Seriously hope the microbe won’t bite our couple but I “ha ma doots”. As someone said, “What will be, will be.” Put £3 into R.B [rent book?] yesterday but have not saved any this year yet.

The prose-poem was ‘Ye Cannot See’.

‘If thou hast two coats, sell one and buy a flower to feed thy soul’ was believed to be an old Chinese proverb.

Yvonne Parker, who had been a ‘Wall of Death’ rider, and her children Pat, Barrie and Wendy, lived in wooden ‘Cosy Cottage’ on the village green.

Penelope Ashley Hall and parents had, since the outbreak of war, temporarily lived a holiday bungalow ‘Chapel of Ease’ built for her mother Phyllis in 1936, next door to Mr A’s ‘Beverley’ on Sunningdale Drive. They had later moved to ‘Claremont’ in Skegness Road, near Cradle Bridge, the former home of Mr and Mrs James Plant (see 6 Dec. 1940 and Village Map).

Pam Moore was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Fred Moore of the ‘Vine Hotel’ (see 5 Nov. 1941). She was frail, with a heart problem, having been a ‘blue baby’.

The comment about ‘the microbe (or bug) biting’ probably alluded to the possibility that Ron and Emmie, already engaged, would feel prompted to make hurried plans to marry.


Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Feb. 15. 1942.
Ye Cannot See.

A great man walked along our Country road,
From all the cottages we issued forth,
To catch his eye or see him smile,
Or hear him pass the time of day to favoured few.
And now, we say, with bated breath,
He dwells in Palaces and rides in City streets.
He sits at meat as peer with prince and king,
He, whom we saw walk down our village street.

Far greater men walk on our roads, to-day,
Their feet make history as they march in step.
Take care to greet them, smile and speak to all.
Your eyes are holden that ye cannot see
Beneath that uniform of battle-dress,
Full many are in wedding garments clad.
Ere long, their feet shall tread the streets of heaven,
And they shall dwell in Paradise with God.

Yea, they shall live for ever with the King of Kings.
So, in the throng and press of life, draw near to them.
It may be in their garments virtue hides,
That carries healing to the weary, war-worn world.
If we but touch the fringe, we may
Receive the germ of peace and spread it far and wide,
As, in the days of Christ on earth,
The woman touched His garment and was healed.

May’s deep Christian faith is clear from many of her poems. It is also apparent from her writing that she was not in awe of any worldly authority (see, for example, the previous Diary extract: 14 Feb. 1942). It is possible that the ‘great man’ referred to in ‘Ye Cannot See’ was King Haakon who had been evacuated from Norway and had been staying at an inn in Ingoldmells, between Chapel St Leonards and Skegness(see 12 Jan. 1941). Later, General de Gaulle was said to have visited French sailors stationed at Ingoldmells. The ‘far greater men’ were obviously the armed forces recruits who were being trained for their part in the war.

The poem has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small which contains over twenty of May’s poems as well as selected diary extracts, including those which suggest the background to each poem, accompanied by many nostalgic photographs.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Sat 9.45 PM 14 Feb. [1942]

On writing the date I remember it is St. Valentine’s Day. Very cold and frosty too it has been but thawed a lot this afternoon, don’t know whether it is freezing tonight. Father’s cold much better, he cleaned all the rabbit-hutches yesterday and mowed them dry grass for beds. To-day he has got some of the boards around hut sides put on. It has never been fit weather before. This afternoon Hallg[arth] called to ask him go help to estimate number of balls in case they found. Hallg. reckoned approx. 10,000. Think he must be wrong but don’t know. A few boxes inside were damaged and the balls crushed.

Ron came Wed. He had finished filing the casting of Well[ington] Bomber and polished it and stand. It is a scale model and a lovely piece of work, solid brass. I thought the underside would be hollow. He has glued a piece of felt (from the inside of an oxygen bott. case) under base of stand to save scratching furniture. Emmie is having it of course but I borrowed it until he comes again. He brought me a Perspex cross for my necklace, nicer than the celluloid one he brought before.

Brass Wellington Model

Ron's Brass Wellington Model

Rene very seedy still with cold. Has not been to-day. Jean went this morning to see if she could help her and did a few little jobs. Went with Ron to station Wed night, had not been for a long time. It should be light after this until we get home again. A Well. Bomber made a forced landing in a field about a mile from here on Friday morning. It was on Patrol and one engine gave out, just over the sea. No one was hurt but the plane undercarriage was damaged. Hallg. sent for Father to investigate and the Sgt. Pilot let him go inside it. C.Gs are not really supposed to bother with anything on land, so he need not have gone. Still he did not mind as he got a look at it. New D[istrict] O[fficer] came in afternoon. Asked a good many questions. Think C.Gs have hardly got him “taped” yet.

Singapore was holding out to counter-attacks this morning. Wed. night the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prince Eugen came out of Brest thro’ E. Channel and Straits of Dover to Heligoland Bight. protected by fighter planes. We lost 42 planes in melee. No warship of any size, of ours, was near enough. They thought Gerry would never dare the D.S. but go round by Scotland. Weather was ideal for his purpose. They say it hindered us! It might have done if we had been there! The country is in an uproar and no wonder. We shall be the laughing-stock of the world. After bombing Brest 66 times, to let them repair these ships so that they sailed under their own steam to where they wanted to be. Our planes and little ships did magnificently what they could, but we were once more caught napping, or worse because we were aware they contemplated a move and never guarded the most obvious place. It is a weary war made worse by bungling and incompetence. Winston must wake up. Gers are fighting near Tobruk now.

The three German naval cruisers had remained in the port of Brest for their safety for almost a year. Their bold ‘Channel Dash’, heading for Norway, along with ten destroyers and numerous smaller craft, was a major humiliation for the Royal Navy and RAF caught off guard.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Feb. 10 Tue 8 P.M [1942]

Father has just gone on watch, he will nearly have to wade “aboard” tonight, the road is like a ditch with the thaw. The water drains away so slowly. On the way home from Sk[egness] to-day about 1 o’clock a lot of the main road was quite dry. We saw where the fire at Roy. Art. had been. Glo[ucester] House was just a burnt shell, all the glass gone from the windows except one end. The fat sentry was as usual on guard as we went. It is very tiresome trying to shop now, the windows look almost as usual, but on going inside one finds they are mostly out of what we want and that tho’ it is on order they don’t know when it will arrive. No fountain pens, last lot 30S [3S ?] so it did not matter, they (Dutton’s) have some nibs for F. Pens on order and are expecting delivery shortly. Got two ordinary nibs 1D each. Got an exercise book 9D, smaller than this. The stiff-covered ones are 1/2 now. Got a travelling ink-well like Ron’s for Rene to send Eva. At Lane’s I got 3 rolls paper for kitchen 2/3 a roll! It is good paper, they knocked 6D roll off as it was a remnant. New stuff is like blotting-paper. Shall have to use it carefully as 3 rolls is only just enough, it is rather a light colour but it will start clean, we must trust to Providence for the next lot. Shall certainly not paper sit. room this year unless we have an unexpected influx of visitors. Enquired about Gym Tunic and Blazer for Jean. 39S/6D each. It is too much, I cannot possibly afford that. They have not the materials for making them at home now. Had a letter from Ron, he will be here tomorrow if all’s well. They have got the road cleared out of the Camp. Father will have to get someone to do a couple of hours for him. Bought 3 bots. of Ammonia. Thought there might be a run on it for blanket washing later if so[ap] flakes are scarce.

Clothes dried whilst we went to Sk. Rene washed so did not come to dinner but later and had a cup of tea and a cream bun, very nice, from Bonnets. Father killed “Mrs Grey”. She was even fatter than the young ones [rabbits]. It was a good thing he did as Jack called a little later, for it. H[arriet] is up again but not very great yet. Wonder how Father is getting on with Joe [Kirk]. Joe has a superiority complex just now. Called Parish over the coals last night for an omission of duty. Said it would get the box a bad name. Exactly, but J. has no authority, it is in Hallg[arth]’s place to correct him if anyone’s here. Should like to be around if he starts to instruct Father. Fa got 2 bots of bronchial mix at Boots for himself and Rene so hope they will soon be better. Have folded clothes, must try to mangle before Ron comes. Have bread to bake too, and dinner to cook.

The Dutton family owned a bookshop and library in Skegness. Reginald JG Dutton was a renowned linguist who developed a ‘universal language’, aimed at efficient international communication. An open letter, bearing his Skegness address, was included in the book Dutton World Speedwords (Dutton Publications, London, 1943).

Lane’s furnishing shop was a family business in Skegness.

Bonnets restaurant and cake shop in Skegness had a high reputation.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Mon. Feb. 9. 9.15. PM [1942]

Weather turned milder last night and rained, had a few showers before dinner but washed, as it was so nice not being frozen every time one went out of doors. Thawed quite a lot, but still a lot of snow and ground hard underneath. Sun came out this afternoon but it was a damp air so we did not hang out the clothes. Shall get them all out together early tomorrow if fit. Jean started to walk to catch bus’ but heel hurt so much, think it is a chilblain, that she returned for cycle. Alright this morning but came off near’s bridge coming home, not hurt. She brought the newspaper. Soap rationed without warning to-day. We have to give a coupon a week per head (or 4 a month) for 3oz soap, or powder, or Toilet s. Liquid soap not included so must try to get some ammonia. Pleased to say I have a nice little stock of soap and some powder, but shall have to cut powder down for washing up. Wonder if “Carbosil” (water softener) is rationed. Clothes coupons are to be cut down when the new ones are issued. Mary says we shall have to wash our necks once a fortnight instead of once a week!

Rene has a wretched cold, seems very seedy but insisted on helping with the washing. She has left her knitting I see. Had 2 letters from Ron to-day, one written last Mon. 2nd when he got back off w.end leave. The train was late so he missed last bus’ and arrived at Camp 8. am 8 hrs late. He had a chit signed by R.T.G. [railway train guard ?] to say train was late so he heard no more. He is coming Wed after all as other man can’t change day as he draws wife’s pay Thurs. Father’s cold not much better, don’t expect it did him any good sweating over that crate on Sat. Or perhaps he is really getting over it, but feels weak and seedy now. He eats fairly well. Is on watch until 2 a.m. Shall be glad when he gets in. Am leaving kettle near fire and Oxo ready for mixing as he usually turns cold coming home.

Have doctored Jean’s heel with salt and onion juice as Jessie advised. It is red and swollen but skin not broken. My nose still discharges a little where gathering was, but not quite so much like a cherry at the end. I dare go in the garden now without feeling a blackbird might come and “snap off my nose”. Lots of twittering amongst the birds when the sun came out to-day and just before dark a long sweet trill from a thrush just one, or perhaps a blackbird as it certainly did not sing it “twice over”. Anyway it sounded like spring. The thawing snow leaves things looking very dilapidated, all the leaves and bits and dirt that were whirled into corners with the drifts of snow are left behind, but a few drying days will work marvels and we shall be able to clear up corners and garden with a will. Nearly 10 o’clock and I want to read a few minutes. Annie F[aulkner] has or is to register for war work. I wonder what Her[bert] will feel like if she goes and he stays at home? He has managed to dodge it so far.

Herbert Faulkner, married to Annie (one of Will’s nieces) was a brother of Ron’s friend Ralph, also Maurice, sons of Thomas Herbert (see 2 Apr. 1941).

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Sun Feb 8/42 6.30 P.M.

It has been fine and frosty to-day but thawed very little. Ray, Keith and Marian came this afternoon, also Colin on his cycle. He kept reminding the others that they were going to Chapel at night, so must not be late for tea. K and M came on an earlier train Friday night and came by bus’ so Father and Gordon had journey for nothing, they waited until after 11. o’clock then came back and G. found them at home by the fire. Very annoying for Father, as he had such a cold. They came down to apologize, but of course they could not help it as they, K and M, did not know Father was meeting them. Rene was at home too, Ray looks very well, and Keith too but thinner, we told him it was the cares of married life. Father went on bx an hour or two while Hallg[arth] and Paul retrieved some wreckage. Father did not want any more pulling on the beach after yesterday.

Jean bought a pair of shoes from Doreen Johnson Sat. She had scarcely worn them. They will be nice for summer and save her others. 10/0 and no coupons. Brock brought first lot of milk to-day. We are getting N. Paper from man who brings Jessie’s. Jean will bring it at night and fetch it Sat. Miss wireless tonight, shall be glad to get it home again but transformer, which has gone to be rewound, not back yet. Jean went to Chapel this morning and to S[unday] S[chool] this afternoon. Flora came to call for her. She brought her an apple and advised her to take it with her in case we ate it. Said her daddy slipped on the ice and sat down. She was sitting in the big chair when I came downstairs but got up at once and said “You have your chair.” Colleen came later to call for Jean but they had gone. All returned together and C and F came to gate with Jean. So we had quite a lot of callers. Sewed red stripes on a young soldier’s tunic yesterday, he came to beg a needleful of red cotton and owned he was no sewer so I told him to bring his tunic. He was very grateful as he wanted to go into Sk[egness] and it was his best. He is a little like Ron but fair.

It is so cold tonight the air was like a blue mist, am afraid it may turn to more snow. Sincerely hope not. Lot of heavy firing this afternoon very near together, also lot of planes all day. Eff came down this afternoon, took some porridge oats and a bot of D [Daddie’s ?] Sauce. Had two letters from Ron yesterday, but he had sent one before them which we have not got so far. Evidently he was 8 hours late off his week-end leave, but has not got into trouble for it. Expect it was weather, but don’t know as he evidently told us in Monday’s letter which has not come, he only mentioned casually that he had not got into trouble about it. They are pretty well snowed up and unless there is an improvement he won’t get home on Thur. Were rationed with bread, but as their mail is getting in and out expect provisions will too. He had got my letter and Jean’s written on Tuesday.

Doreen Johnson was a daughter of Fred Johnson, at ‘Fairfield Farm’ on Sea Road (see Village Map). Her younger sister, Betty, was in the Girls’ Life Brigade with Jean and they had a brother, Norman.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Friday Feb. 6 10.45. P.M. [1942]

Father has gone to meet 10. o’clock train at Sk[egness] for Keith and Marian. To-day at the C.G. box they have been informed that they have the rank of A.B. seamen and are to be provided with uniforms. They will be on the pay-roll of H.M.S. President II. Some act of Parliament has been passed for this. That is how our government waste their time playing at war. What a farce! A.Bs in uniform and hardly any of them been on a ship in their lives, wonder if they are going to doll them up in blouses and bell-bottom trousers, while all the time the men on active service, at least some of them, are short of uniforms. Why don’t they wake up and produce guns and tanks and arms of all kinds. They are arming the H.G. with pikestaffs now. Pikestaffs, against guns (By the way the A.Bs are part of H.M.s armed forces). 2 rifles amongst 6 of them and seldom one in the W.Bx let alone ammunition. It is time the men got to work and let women make the laws and rule, instead of men building nurseries for children so the mothers can work. It makes ones blood boil to think of all the daft schemes they have, playing at war while the enemy gains on nearly every side. Shades of Drake and Nelson! What would they think to such A.Bs. They can do their job as they are, what more is needed. They are authorised to stop persons and vehicles now and search them if they suspect them, also ships. Ships! Are they to walk across the waves and intercept them? Father does not know whether to be most amused or vexed. It is indeed not a laughing matter that all this tom-foolery is going on while the enemy clamours at our doors.

Hallg[arth] sent for Father before he was up this morning (he only came off at 2. a.m.) to go investigate a mine washing up towards Ingoldmells. It was one of our own covered with barnacles. The mine experts came and rendered it safe later in the day. They had been upset into a ditch in the car on the way. Thought Har[ry] Graves who was driving had a seizure or heart attack, as he all at once drove straight for the dyke. Father also examined a packing case that had washed up and with help got it to the ironwork defence. It is full of ping-pong balls. He suggested to Hallg. that they put it thro’ to salvage author. and share the s. money equally among them all as the fairest way. H says do nothing of the sort! the others won’t do it, so why should Father and him. The C.Gs can claim salvage if not on duty. So tomorrow H and Father are going in their off time to retrieve it. Let’s hope it’s still there. Then H will report it and they hope to get salvage. I am not speculating on how much it will be or counting it until if ever I count the actual money.

Father should soon be back now if train runs to time. It is Friday night and some of the soldiers have come singing to their billets, pay-day I expect. Have not heard from Ron since week-end, hope there is a letter tomorrow as it seems so long until Monday. Hope he will be home next Thursday. Roy home again this week. Mary will have all her boys at home together tonight. Ray[mond] came Wed. Gor[don] says he is learning music. Has had one lesson and thinks he has done very well so far. To-day much milder than of late. No bitter wind but only thawed slightly and was freezing very sharply by 5 o’clock again. Gravel path icy.

‘AB Seaman’ or ‘Able Seaman’ was a rank of the Royal Navy.

HMS President II’ was an accounting base (known as a ‘stone frigate’) for the Royal Navy.

Harry Graves, here, was almost certainly one of May’s uncles, the husband of Florence Simpson (youngest sister of May’s father) who had died in 1938. He owned a garage in Mablethorpe. He was NOT directly related to the other Graves mentioned in the Diaries.

The ironwork defence consisted of barbed wire rolls supported on metal posts, for protection against enemy invasion by sea.

Mary Hill, the wife of Will’s brother Charles, was meant here. Their sons were Raymond, Keith, Laurence, Gordon and Colin (see 21 Dec. 1941).

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?